St Joseph's ran out deserved winners in a Leitrim U20 B Championship Final where they held the lead in until late on but then needed a goal in the last move of the game to win after levelling it up only seconds earlier.
The game was played in heavy conditions and never truly flowed but the movement of the St Joseph's forwards was a constant problem for Leitrim Gaels defence and could well have more reward on the scoreboard for their work.
Leitrim Gaels shooting let them down as they kicked over a half a dozen shots straight into the goalie’s hands and St Joseph's Aaron Moran handled them well and started attacks from their own goal line with smart use of the ball.
Jack Flynn opened the scoring after he received a short free for a foul on Shane Rynn but Jake Hackett, from a free, levelled after a foul by Donal Casey, who was yellow carded as a result.
On six minutes, Patrick McCann scored a good point for St Joseph's with Jake Hackett hitting a good point from play off his right foot. Ten minutes in, Matt Hackett scored a point from the 20 metre line.
Moments later Conor Canning was denied a goal chance by a last ditch tackle from Donal Casey with St Joseph’s appealing for a penalty. On 14 minutes Adrian Shortt hit a long range point followed a minute later by a free from Jake Hackett to put St Joseph’s five ahead.
After the water break Leitrim Gaels showed a desire that was lacking in the opening quarter. On the 18th minute Paddy Keane missed close in after a great run but from the resulting kick out Donal Casey made a great interception before splitting the posts.
Leitrim Gaels upped their work rate which saw Oisín Curley get a good point. Aodan Harte missed a good chance for St Josephs but Leitrim Gaels moments later had their fourth point of the game where a great run by Daniel O'Sullivan was finished by Paddy Keane.
The Gaels narrowed the scoreline to the minimum when Oisín Curley added a point. A missed chance to extend the lead fell to Jake Hackett from a free which he dropped short, as a result of a foul after a great 70 yard solo run from Daniel McCann.
The last action of the half was a missed Oisin Curley free leaving St Joseph’s 0-6 to 0-5 in front at the break.
The second half saw Brían Goldrick pick up a yellow card which saw Pearse Kenny convert the free after a delay for treatment to the influential Conor Canning.
Leitrim Gaels missed a couple of chances before the brilliant Shafik Oubihi scored a superb point. Donal Casey missed a good chance before Conor Canning, who had been temporarily replaced, returned to the fray and kicked a superb point.
Oisín Curley replied for the Gaels who were starting to make a move with Jack Flynn finishing a great move that he started with an interception and scoring on the run from 25 yards.
That left the scoreline St Joseph's 0-9 to Leitrim Gaels 0-7 at the water break. On resumption the lead was extended on 19 minutes by a Conor Canning point and a free from Jake Hackett.
With 23 minutes gone Brían Goldrick had a goal bound shot brilliantly blocked with the ball rolling back to Shane Rynn who, on the half volley, drilled the ball wide. Minutes later Jack Flynn was unlucky to see his goal bound effort go narrowly wide of the left post.
Jake Hackett unusually missed a free then the start of a few manic minutes came. Jack Flynn was fouled 18 yards from goal and with all the St Joseph's players on the goal line, the point looked the only option but Flynn taking it himself drilled a brilliant shot to the roof of the net.
Game on now and the Gaels had reeled St Joseph's back to a point. Paddy Keane made a great catch to set Donal Casey free to score the point that levelled the game on 31 minutes. Then Keane, taking a great pass from Daniel O’Sullivan, nailed an absolute beauty with his left foot from 40 yards to send the Gaels fans into a frenzy.
Pearse Kenny then drilled over a contentious free from a tight angle to level the game but with extra-time looming, St Joseph’s turned the ball over after the kickout, played it into sub Niall McCabe who rounded the keeper and calmly finished to the net.
It was a stunning climax but on the day there was no denying the better team won. The final few minutes of this game will stay in the memory of all those present for years to come. Both teams could not be faulted for endeavour but St Joseph's had that bit extra and it proved decisive.
Scorers: Jake Hackett 0-4; Niall McCabe 1-0; Matt Hackett, Conor Canning & Pearse Kenny 0-2 each; Adrian Shortt & Shafik Oubihi 0-1 each
Team: Aaron Moran, Shafik Oubhi, Danial McCann, Edward Donohoe, Adrian Shortt, Fiachra Casey, Shane O’Brien, Patrick McCann, Conor Canning, Matt Hackett, Pearse Kenny, Aodan Harte, Jake Hackett. Subs: Sub: Declan Brooks for Donohoe, Niall McCabe for Brooks
Scorers: Jack Flynn 1-2; Oisin Curley 0-3; Donal Casey & Paddy Keane 0-2 each
Team: Matthew Earley, Aaron Aldridge, Robbie Casey, Michael Connolly, Donal Casey, Daniel O’Sullivan, Paddy Keane, Jack Flynn, Brían Goldrick, Shane Rynn Rory Kelly, Oisín Curley, Matthew Doyle
Referee: Michael McGirl
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